In my last post, you got a peek into our kitchen garden with its various veggies taking off. One of my favorite things about having my own garden is coming up with different ways to mix together everything we grow.

I am not a chef by any means, so I don’t put a lot of thought into which flavors go with which. Instead, I put my trust in Mother Nature – that the things that are growing at the same time of year are likely going to taste great together.

And so far, everything’s been great!

big summer salad, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes

Big Summer Salad…recipe below!

My latest salad creation comes from everything I picked in the video from my last post. Recipe below…give it a try!

Dana’s Big Summer Salad with Lemon-Strawberry Vinaigrette
(Serves 1 big meal-sized salad, or two small side salads)

Salad ingredients:
1 cup loose-leaf lettuce
1/2 cup carrots, cut into slivers
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
2 tbsp fresh dill (big stems removed)
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

lettuce, salad making

Fresh picked lettuce perking up in an ice bath

Wash and combine all ingredients. Tip: If lettuce is limp (as homegrown lettuce tends to be once picked), let it soak in a bowl of cold water and ice as you prepare the other ingredients. The ice water perks the leaves right up!
Vinaigrette ingredients:
A few strawberries (Best to use overly-ripe berries that are a little mushy, but not moldy. I was inspired to create this recipe from picking my own over-ripeĀ berries from the garden.)
Small bunch of fresh lemon balm (or substitute with lemon juice, to taste)
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Little pinch of salt
Little pinch of garlic powder

muddled lemon balm

Muddled lemon balm

Muddle or mash the lemon balm and strawberries together to release their flavors. Combine well with the other ingredients.

Toss it all together and enjoy!

I don’t have nutrition facts for this recipe, but you can rest assured it is low calorie, low fat, and one big serving provides you with 3 servings of vegetables for the day!

Your turn: What is your must-have summer salad ingredient?